Lately, I've noticed more clients using text messages to discuss or argue about unresolved issues in their relationships. As someone who is all thumbs with my thumbs, I’m always amazed that people have the digital dexterity to carry on a reasonably coherent text dialogue for longer than two minutes. But personal challenges aside, texting is not the way to negotiate a relationship.
As texting becomes second nature to a generation reared on iphones, it’s worth noting that human beings were designed to connect with each other on many different levels. UCLA professor Albert Mehrabian found that 58 percent of communication is through body language, 35 percent through vocal tone, pitch, and emphasis, and a mere 7 percent through content of the message.
We all know that good communication is the cornerstone of relationship. So why attempt to resolve a disagreement using only 7 percent of your full expressive potential? Would you run a marathon with 7 percent of your physical strength, or take an important test with 7 percent of your intelligence? Would you host a holiday gathering with only 7 percent of your house cleaned?
And that’s a generous 7 percent. Consider all the annoying slips of finger that can interfere with clear communication. When the difference between “mad,” “sad,” “bad,” and “glad” is an errant thumb, wobbly finger gymnastics can be costly and confusing.